Just a word about film holders and backs. The dreaded "Graflex Back" is different than either a spring back or a graflock back. Holders that fit a graflex back have a groove down both sides of the holder that fits into a slot on the back of the camera. These film holders are very scarce. When using one of the graflex holders, the gg is removed and the film holder attached. I have a pre-anny speed that still has a working focal plane shutter, about a dozen film holders for the graflex back, and four bag mags. Each bag mag holds 12 shots. The bag mags were originally made for the graflex SLR, but are usable on the pre-anny speed with the graflex back. The rangefinder on my pre-anny speed is calibrated for the 127/4.7 ektar, so with a bag mag, I have a hand held rangefinder in 4X5 that can shoot 12 shots before changing the film holder. If you can get a speed with the 4" square lens boards, you can make your own lens boards out of 1/8" hardboard available from any lumber store. Sure beats paying at least $30 for the stamped steel lens boards that fit the newer speeds. I have about a dozen barrel lenses fitted to 4" square boards that I use with my pre-anny speed. I have a few old kodak enlarging lenses that give an interesting soft dreamy look when used as taking lenses. I have a 161 and 135mm f4.5 "Kodak projection anastigmat". I think I paid less than $10 each for them on ebay.
"I'm still developing"
Me too... now.
Originally Posted by BradS
David said "Someday I must got out and try to take some shots like O. Winston Link and put all these ideas to a practical test!"
Yes, you should. I have been using a SuperGraphic and an Anniversary with 3-cell Graflite on a regualr basis since the 1980s. fun, Fun, FUN!
Somewhere in here I read to make sure there is linkage between lens shutter and focal plane shutter. . .is this correct? A 4X5 focal plane shutter?
And with the span of bellows extension on the Crown, what range of lenses can be used?
The Crown doesn't have a FP shutter. The Speed does. The FP shutter cuts down on how wide a lens you can use. I've used a 90mm on a Speed - I don't know how much wider you can go.
Originally Posted by Rich Ullsmith
There's no linkage between the two shutters. Rather, there's a switch on the side of the Speed (not the Crown) which changes whether the body shutter release controls the FP shutter or the lens shutter (assuming the cable to the front standard is present and functional and that there's an appropriate size paddle to hit the shutter release on the lens)
To clarify a bit - the reason a Speed Graphic is called a Speed Graphic is that it has a high SPEED focal plane shutter. Leaf shutters topped out at around 1/400s but the FP shutter is capable of 1/1000s. When the Pacemaker models were introduced, the Crown was a version of the Speed without that shutter. As a result, it's less complex, less expensive, lighter, and the body is thinner - so, a lens can get closer to the film plane and therefore, shorter focal length lenses can be used.
OK quick rundown of info
1. graphic versions, old/new
Older graphics use flat 4x4 square lens boards, A few have a 'graflex' back which is not standard and not a "grafloc" back either. You can spot the older models by their front standard, usually all black and less refined.
Newer graphics use a molded metal lensboard I think 3.75" square. About half of these newer models have the graflock back the rest have standard spring backs.
2. Graphic versions, speed/crown
Crown graphics are thinner and lighter than the speed graphics. They will accept a shorter lens, down to 47 mm i think without a recessed lensboard, but movements will be extremely limited because of bellows compression.
Speed graphics have a roller shutter in the body, thus they can use lenses in barrels. This opens up a world of possibilities of lenses, both modern and old. Rated PH for PHUN. Also if the know the shutter in the body is working well, you need not worry as much about accuracy of the shutters you are buying.
3. graphic versions, rangefinders
Top-mounted rangefinders use interchangeable cams so you could conceivably use different lenses and have them all synched to the rangefinder.
Side-mounted rangefinders are adjusted for one lens, but can be re-adjusted for another lens in an hour or two. (instructions on graflex.org)
**note that the rangefinder view is just a little spot and so to frame your shot you have to look through the viewfinder or wire finder. I found the rangefinder works best with semi-wide lenses so you dont have to be as careful with your aim/framing. Thus i dont see the need for more than one lens to use with the rangefinder.
3a. Camera backs.
The standard back for any view camera is commonly called a 'spring' back. A frame holds the ground glass at the same position the film will be in. Springs hold the frame in place. A standard 4x5 film holder slides under the ground glass frame. Polaroid 545 and 504 holders slide into these backs the same way a film holder does. Calumet also made a roll film holder that slides under the frame as well.
Graflock backs are the same dimentions as standard backs, and thus accept the same standard film holders. however the gg frame can unclip from the back of the camera completely. This allows you to mount graflex roll film holders and grafmatic holders. Sliding locks similar to the ones that hold the lensboard hold the graflock accessoies in place.
The graphics are made of mohagony and aluminum covered with leatherette. Any wear will immediately show up on the camera, so it is easy to tell how much use/abuse a camera has had by the photo. There is not much profit in "restoring" damaged graphics so pretty much what you see is what you get. That said, the graflexes are extremely rugged, so even a mediocre looking camera will be perfectly functional. And crappy looking cameras will still be useable, though the rangefinders and abused lenses may not be. The problems you will likely see are: broken springs in the back; bad ground glass registration; dim or dirty rangefinders; torn, wrinked, or bad shutter curtains; tears or pinholes in bellows; bad lens shutters.
The speed graphic shutters are self-serviceable from what I understand from graflex.org. The kalart rangefinders are pretty rugged and imho will last longer than the top rangefinders. Take time to check/adjust the rangefinder when you get the camera, and occasionaly re-check it as it can go out of sync if not tight. There is a vast supply of parts on ebay. Thouroughly clean your camera after purchase and before use, makeing sure to clean the inside of the bellows.
5. Film holders: Riteway, Fidelity, and Lisco are all excellent film holders. I prefer the graflex riteway ones because it easier to unload the holders. If you buy them separately from the camera get the NEWEST/BEST CONDITION you can afford. Make sure to clean them ABSOLUTELY AS WELL AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN. Clean the grooves where the film slides, take the darkslide out and clean the slot. make sure the darkslide slide in and out smoothly, any grinding is likely to be sand or dirt in the slot. You can replace the tape hinge with gaffers tape, or black masking tape (you may need to double-up on this), but try to make sure it fits perfectly. test the film holders in the camera and make sure they are a tight, flat fit with no light leaks. Get a sacrificial 4x5 sheet of film. test that it slides easily in and out of the holder. Practice loading and unloading film in a holder with your eyes closed. Store your freshly cleaned holders in ziplock bags to keep out dust.
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I'm getting it now. If I can find a solid, clean box, the rest appears to be somewhat interchangeable. Thanks everybody for this information, more convinced than before that this is the camera I want. This will be a great thread for me to ref later on.